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Could This Be the Best Planned Hostel in the World? You Decide…


I’m sorry hostels. I really, really am. Over the past couple of months, I’ve stayed at a number of acceptable, clean, fun, and unique hostels in Turkey, Italy, Mongolia, China, Kyrgyzstan and Russia. I’ve spent time in party hostels, in apartment hostels, and hostels that are more like hotels. We’ve felt like a part of the family in Mongolia where the hostel was actually a home, and in Tomsk where 3 Russian ladies cooked us up a traditional borscht dinner… in our hostel!

Oh, but nothing really compared to the moment when I first set foot inside Soul Kitchen Jr. in St. Petersburg, Russia — a hostel that literally opened a few weeks ago.


Hostels of the world, I love you all for who you are, but when it comes to Soul Kitchen Jr., there is just no way for me to not gush forth oodles of “bests” and “favorites”.

It started when I walked in the door. Wow. Oh, wow! This place is so nice!

soul kitchen common room

My eyes hit the Portuguese tile on the entry way (specially imported by Lyuba for accents), then the giant couch of the lounge, the stacked suitcases by the window seat, the eclectic light shades, and further around to the reception desk, all done up in colors and shades of rustic age. If I had had my way, I would have set up a bed right there in that hallway and called it home, but little did I know…

Little did I know that the private rooms would look like this:

private room

Yes, that is a loft inside the private room. A loft! How cool is that? You can share it with a friend and still have plenty of space between you, and the little perks take the cool factor up about 10 notches. On each side of the bed(s) are multiple plug outlets, and a lazy light switch! Forget to turn the light off before you get comfy in bed? That’s OK — the switch next to you does the job as well.


Fancy a view? Our private room had a clear view of the river… and right from the bed.

Little thing I loved: Lots of private rooms — and private rooms that can sleep up to 5 if necessary. It’s great for groups and couples that want to avoid dorm rooms but still want the hostel vibe.

The reality of the thought and effort that went into this new hostel became apparent when Lyuba took us around for a private tour:

soul kitchen hallways

Let’s start with the common room.
soulkitchen jr couch
It’s designed to be comfortable, convenient, and to keep the sound from getting to the bedrooms. The TV on the wall has about 1000 channels.

The kitchen was a treat.

When a hostel can accommodate up to 70 people, you need to have a kitchen that can handle the traffic. The kitchen here is big, open, and oh-so-friendly on the eyes.


The seating is abundant, with heaps of chairs that were made vintage-y by Lyuba and her husband themselves!

soul kitchen chairs

soul kitchen chairs 2

We walked further through the hostel.
soul kitchen hallways 2

The computer room has 3 computers available for use.

Little thing I love: I love how they’ve kept many aspects of the old building in the new. An old wood beam has been restructured to create the big light fixture in this room. The old wood doors have been cut and kept to make the sides of the reception and computer room desks. An old sewing machine has been turned into a desk and coat hook. Old tiles have been used for mosaics and accents in other places. A dingy retro bathtub has been repainted and used as decoration in the bathroom. I love every bit of their resourcefulness and style.

computer chillout room

Did you notice the imported tiles?
soul kitchen portuguese tile

But we saved the best for last: the dorms!
soul kitchen dorm room

Little thing I loved: The brightness of the main lights throughout the entire hostel can be controlled at reception. It is because of this that you don’t have to worry about being blinded by bright dorm room lights at 3am because reception has turned the brightness down long before.

These dorm beds have been custom made to be big.

soulkitchen jr dorm bed

soulkitchen jr lockers

Little thing I loved: The rooms have secure doors with key card entry.

It’s the little things that make it special:

(In case my 100 photos weren’t enough…)

Lyuba and her husband are young and fun. After running another successful hostel across town, they decided to take it further — incorporating as many ideas as possible that would make an awesome hostel. It shows, people, it really shows.

And this post doesn’t even talk about the free wi-fi from multiple routers, the decent amount of bathrooms, the space, or the helpful staff.

You can check them out and make a booking for Soul Kitchen Jr. on Hostelworld.

**My stay at this hostel was provided free-of-charge thanks to a partnership between Hostelworld and Soul Kitchen Jr., but all thoughts are my own.


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25 Responses to Could This Be the Best Planned Hostel in the World? You Decide…

  1. Waegook Tom July 3, 2012 at 11:31 am #

    Brooke, this looks FANTASTIC. Seriously. If this doesn’t wind up in the Hostelworld/Hostelbookers top 10 within the next couple of years or so, there’s a fix, I tell ye!

    That private room with the loft is super cool, and I love how they’ve decorated the place. May have to plan a return trip to St Petersburg just to take advantage of this hostel!

    • Brooke July 4, 2012 at 2:11 am #

      My thoughts exactly! It was like the first thing I told them… top of the Hoscar’s list!

  2. Pat_extreme July 4, 2012 at 2:15 am #

    It really is that nice! I would add that the staff are super helpful & there are beanbags everywhere (in bedrooms too) – got to be the best hostel in St Petersburg!

  3. Petra July 4, 2012 at 4:36 am #

    Brooke, this truly looks great!
    I don’t know what’s with Russian design(ers), but I’m a big fan! 🙂 Need I say that my favourite hostel is also one in Skt. Petersburg?…

    • Brooke July 5, 2012 at 1:27 am #

      They did such a great job 🙂 What does your favorite hostel look like?

      • Petra July 5, 2012 at 2:55 am #

        It’s called ‘Green Light Hostel’: it’s new, modern, extremely well equipped, and … green! 🙂 And the staff is very helpful, friendly, and dedicated!

        • Lyuba July 5, 2012 at 4:57 am #

          unfortunately the green hostel is already closed down more then a year ago (

          • Petra July 5, 2012 at 5:03 am #

            Can’t be! 🙁 I was there two years ago, it was hip and cool! Sorry to hear that!

          • Sergio July 5, 2012 at 7:20 am #

            yes! it’s closed

  4. Sergio July 4, 2012 at 1:01 pm #

    wow! such a great photos! looks awesome!

    • Brooke July 5, 2012 at 1:28 am #

      Thanks, Sergio — it looks even better in real life! 🙂

  5. Ryan at Travel and Graphs July 4, 2012 at 10:10 pm #

    This looks like a great place! Kind of like what I would hope to have the creativity to do if somebody handed me a boat load of money and said “Here, make your hostel the way you want to.”

    • Brooke July 5, 2012 at 1:29 am #

      Exactly! Pretty much what they did. 🙂

  6. Lyuba July 5, 2012 at 4:58 am #

    Wow! Thank you Brooke!

  7. Katina July 5, 2012 at 7:14 pm #

    Think I want to go to St Petersburg just to stay in this place, it looks wonderful. I’ll be recommending it to a colleague who I think is making a visit next year!

  8. Erik Smith (@eriksmithdotcom) July 8, 2012 at 7:36 pm #

    It’s really cool, no doubt about that. I became a big fan of the hostels in New Zelaand, but they couldn’t even compare to this one!

    • Brooke July 14, 2012 at 1:34 am #

      I also stayed in some nice hostels in NZ, but yeah… not even close 🙂

  9. Matthew Karsten July 19, 2012 at 10:05 pm #

    Looks like someone really thought this place through. Wish more hostels were this way. 🙂

    • Brooke July 20, 2012 at 8:02 pm #

      They did – it was mind-blowing and impressive. I want Lyuba to decorate/design my future house!

  10. Liz |Traveling Liz July 23, 2012 at 9:10 am #

    Ahh! I’m staying there on my trip in August. So excited now!

    • Sergio August 21, 2012 at 9:52 am #

      so did you stayed there? how was it?

  11. Franca July 31, 2012 at 5:51 pm #

    Wow! I’ve never been in a hostel that looked so awesome, must keep this in mind if we ever make it to S. Petersburg. 🙂

  12. Angela August 14, 2012 at 8:46 am #

    Wow – doesn’t even seem a hostel, looks like a real treat!

  13. Olga B November 4, 2013 at 6:18 am #

    That’s amazing! So proud we’ve got such a beautiful place in such a beautiful city 🙂


  1. Show Me Your Favorite Hostel Art | Brooke vs. the World - September 26, 2012

    […] Show Me Your Favorite Hostel Art Not every hostel has hostel art, and a good hostel doesn’t even need it to be remembered. But, there are some hostels that are able to take their great service even further by providing a spectacular atmosphere with their decor and art (think Soul Kitchen Jr.). […]

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